Population 630 000 – 78% uyghur, 20% Han Chinese, and the rest a mix of 27 minorities.
We arrived to our lovely Government Hotel in Turpan. Everything is luxurious and clean and fresh. This is a relief after Urumqi.
The first thing we did was look for a lunch spot. We entered a tiny dumpling shop with plastic tables and dubious crockery. After being served tea in bowls (this seems to be the thing in Xinjiang) We ordered our dumplings. There were 3 types, beef, lamb and vegetarian – in soup or not in soup. They were really nice to eat.
We then headed back to the hotel – about a 20 minute walk. It was quite hot, about 35 degrees and the sun was intense. The locals were very warm and friendly. They loved having a laugh and having their photos taken with us strange foreigners. It’s mulberry festival time so buckets of fresh mulberrries are for sale everywhere very cheap.
Our local guide arrived and took us out to learn about the Karez – an ancient irrigation system which brought water from the mountains to create an oasis in the desert. This is one of the 3 great ancient projects – The great wall, The karez and … the channels? something … I should have listened better 🙂
She also told us that this is the region that the real monk portrayed in Monkey Magic travelled through. And Turpan in particular.
We then went to the ancient ruins of the Yar City. This city was huge and set on a plateau with views all around. Absolutely amazing. It’s something you have to see to believe.
After this we went to a Uyghur home and helped cook a really nice meal. We had local wine and WuSu beer, learned how to make noodles and much more. Back to the hotel now. There is an early start in the morning.